Health Cluster Coordinator Lessons Learned Workshop
The first Health Coordinator Lessons Learned Workshop, an initiative of the Global Health Cluster, was held 7-8 June 2010 in Geneva. Twenty-six past and present Health Cluster Coordinators participated from all six WHO Regions and NGO GHC partner Organizations.
The workshop focused on health cluster lessons learned and good practices, constraints, bottlenecks, with recommendations as to how to embed the former and overcome the latter.
The first day was planned to enable discussion of the different phases of an emergency response, focusing on: pre-deployment issues; establishing the cluster; managing the cluster; post-deployment issues. Time permitting, exit/handover of the cluster was also be considered. The second day was allocated for recommendations on the way forward for the Health Cluster Guide, Health Cluster tools and learning and capacity building exercises.
The sessions were organised to encourage proactive interaction from the participants. Resource persons informed participant discussions rather than delivering formal presentations. Participants presented recommendations and findings to a panel comprising the co-chairs of the GHC working groups and other selected resource persons.
The Lessons Learned included:
- Transparency in the allocation and decision making process of pooled funds is essential.
- Cluster Coordination requires a HCC team including IM capacity.
- Health Cluster Guide is useful in some contexts; it is used and appreciated by both HCCs and partners.
- Country health clusters need to define specific tasks before choosing tools.
- HCC training has been valuable and should be part of broader learning strategy with increased involvement of partners and be a pre-requisite for pre-deployment.
- Partners are providing briefing and debriefing with value for the deployed individual, the organisation and the cluster; the CLA appears to be weaker in this regard.
Identified bottle necks included:
- The cluster approach is not yet fully institutionalised within the Cluster Lead Agency (CLA) and its partners in the GHC.
- Slow release of funds channelled through the CLA and inadequate funding for cluster coordination both undermine the cluster approach.
Strategic Recommendations to the GHC:
GHC should work with the Cluster Lead Agency (CLA) to ensure the institutionalization of the cluster approach within CLA, in particular:
- Recognize the key role of WR (HWCO) in supporting the Health Cluster Coordinator.
- To develop SOPs for the implementation and management of the cluster
- To decide on the level of decision making depending on the scale of emergency.
- To ensure all GHC members (including donors) encourage country offices to strongly support the cluster approach.
Recommendations to GHC on the management of the Health Cluster:
- Define the human resource needs of the HCC team.
- Ensure a sustainable funding for the HCC team.
- Ensure deployment of HCC is from roster.
- Develop mechanisms with other clusters and partners (WASH, logistics) to use their surge capacity.
- Create surge capacity for assessments within GHC.
- Visit countries in the early stages of major emergencies to ensure the effective implementation of the cluster; to highlight areas of concern and recommend action to be taken by the CLA.
At the Global Health Cluster meeting, 10-11 June 2010, the plenary decided that the GHC would review the recommendations and decide on way forward.
The GHC will aim to organize an HCC event annually.